Eden Killer Whale Museum
Discover the most incredible human and killer whale partnership ever witnessed on the planet…
Meet the killer whales, explore galleries filled with maritime, Aboriginal and pioneering artefacts, watch for whales from the deck, climb the replica lighthouse and browse the bookshop. See the skeleton of Old Tom, preserved after his natural death in the 1930s.
In the 1840s there were reportedly around 50 killers spread through three main pods. At times the pod numbered up to 36, with records of 21 that were recognisable and known by name.
The museum is excellent for shore based whale watching, and when one is spotted the siren sounds across Eden to let everyone know!
What is a Killer Whale?
Highly intelligent creatures with complex social systems and hunting strategies, Orcinus Orca are not whales but the largest of the 35 members of the dolphin family. They have no known predators and live on a diet that includes fish, birds and marine mammals such as sea lions, seals, walruses and whales. While on the Killer Whale Trail, you can discover more about killer whale biology and behaviour at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre in Eden.
Killer got your tongue?
While the killer whales would bite and harass the whales, they were only interested in eating the tongue and lips of the whale. After a kill, the whalers would anchor the whale and mark its location so the killers could have their reward before the whale would be towed to shore to be processed. Crews would wait until gases formed by the whale’s decomposition would float it to the surface and then row it in to shore. Some crews, who did not respect “the law of the tongue” were scorned by the Aboriginal and European whalers alike.
Are Killer Whales real killers?
Despite killer whales’ fierce and often vicious pursuit of whales, dolphins and seals, they never attacked humans, and even offered protection to them. In at least one known case, George Davidson was thrown overboard, injured and bleeding, as he tried to lance a thrashing whale. “Old Tom”, a well-known killer whale broke off from the pack and circled George repeatedly, in what George believed was an act to protect him from the sharks known to be in the water. Accounts are also made of “Hooky” lifting a whaler by the shirt up from the depths after capsizing. The relationship went two ways as whalers would also assist their hunting partners when they became entangled in ropes, nets or accidentally beached themselves. Reports of a purring noise made by the whales when released have also been made.
Made of whale
In the early days of whaling, only whale oil (extracted from the blubber) and baleen (a strong, yet flexible material made out of keratin, the same protein that is in our hair and fingernails) that the whalers were seeking to extract from the whale. Products made from whale were as diverse as lamp oil fuel, candles, perfume, umbrellas, whips and riding crops, buttons, hooped skirts and corsets, brooms, brushes and gelatine. As time passed and substitutes were found, this lowered the price and contributed to the decline in demand for whale oil and baleen.
Eden Killer Whale Museum Opening Hours
9.15am – 3.45pm Monday to Saturday.
11.15am – 3.45pm Sundays.
Extended trading hours over Christmas Holidays (closed Christmas Day)
9.15am – 4.45pm
Children (5-15 yrs) $2.50
Children under 5: FREE